Before Christmas, something very exciting happened to my beloved old university Labour Club: they elected a female Chair, Cat Wayland, for the first time in a very long time. (At least 8 years, to the best of my knowledge.)
There aren’t enough women in politics, and it baffles me how few young women are engaged in trying to change that; for that reason, I’m delighted to welcome Cat as a guest blogger to explain a bit about what the Club is going to be up to this election year, and what her plans are for them. Over to her…
It’s going to be an exciting spring for York University Labour Club; even more so for me now that I find myself chairing (for the first time ever) through what can easily be described as Labour’s most important general election campaign in a decade.
All I can say is that we’re ready to rise to the challenge. Aside from the obvious – the usual telephone canvassing and such – we’ll be doing our bit around West Yorkshire right up until the last minute, joining in regional campaign days and fighting for marginal seats.
On campus too there are plans to stimulate political interest in the student body. We are hoping to hold a PPC debate in the run-up to the election, hosted by York University’s own NGS Society. Prospective candidates for York Outer from at least the three main parties will be there, which includes our own James Alexander. We hope that Labour policy on student-orientated issues such as university fees and graduate job prospects in this difficult economic climate will make a strong and lasting impression on York students, showing that Conservative and Lib Dem plans will offer no further security to Britain’s undergraduate population.
Although the election campaign will be our main priority over the coming months, it is one of my personal goals to ensure that more female students become involved with Labour Club. As a feminist and a strong advocate for equal representation, I feel activism amongst female students in York University’s Labour is disappointingly low. I believe that word of mouth alone can do a great deal of good work in bringing in new members, but we must strive to raise our profile on campus generally. Plans for female recruitment involve events such as informal gatherings where students will be encouraged to voice their opinions and ideas, providing greater confidence to participate actively, and attend weekly Labour meetings more regularly, rather than simply appearing as a member on paper.
So, those are the plans at the York University Labour Club, and with that, I wish Grace and everyone else a very Happy New Year, and hope that 2010 proves to be a good year for all of us with the Labour Party!